Friday, June 24, 2011

The War Rages On Between Runners and Cyclists on the Williamsburg Bridge

"you're on the wrong side!" the girl screamed at the pedestrian pittering along as she and her bike reached the peak of the bridge and began quickly accelerating down the steep descent back to her safe zone, Brooklyn.

and then she remembered, there are no longer "sides."

apparently, bipeds and bicycles have been living the good (segregated) life far too long. when it was announced about a year ago that the south side of the Williamsburg Bridge would be reserved for runners and walkers, while speed freak cyclists could have the north side of the expanse all to themselves, we thought the perfect solution had been found. they won't have to deal with us and we won't have to deal with them. unless, of course, you're like me and are a little from Column A and a little from Column B, then you have to deal with everybody.

but when the Department of Transportation announced that it would be closing the south side of the Williamsburg Bridge and that we would all, once again, have to share the lanes, you could immediately hear the tires screeching to a halt in the distance.

apparently, the DOT is installing roadblocks on the bridge to prevent cars from driving up the path. if you're currently asking yourself WTF, then i'm right there with you. we've been given a timetable of six weeks, but with the New York City government, you can pretty much bet the closure is going to last all summer. (i have yet to see any workers doing any... you know... work on the bridge.)

in an attempt to make things easier, only the Brooklyn half of the south side of the bridge is closed, allowing pedestrians to cross over in the middle. but do they? of course not! i mean, why would they? this is New York and, let's face it, we all have entitlement issues.

so instead of blasting down the plunging precipice being a reward for painfully pedaling up the equally extreme slope of the other side of the bridge, bikers now have to resort to riding their brakes and dodging the completely oblivious populace of runners (but especially walkers).

i guess dealing with this pain-in-the-ass procedure is still better than further funding the MTA's corruption.

but, for real. the bridge is now mega crowded. regardless if you're biking, running, walking or, like some people, walking your bike, please just be aware of your surroundings, be safe and, of course, stay outta my way! ;)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Father's Day Gift to My Dad

a newlywed man and the father of a green-eyed newborn baby girl in a new, far-off land. so many things had changed so quickly, but it still wasn't enough for this twenty-something year old; new challenges needed to be met and more obstacles needed to be conquered.

and then he found it. what could possibly be more daring than attempting a 26-mile run through the icy tundra of his new home in Anchorage, Alaska? nothing. when hearing of this race, this man found a new ambition and now knew what he wanted to accomplish.

equipped with nothing more than a marathon plan from an old Runner's World, he set out on the trails everyday. it between the ice patches and under the bright, unrelenting northern sun, he put on his layers of wool, the sweat underneath ferociously battling with the stinging cold air hitting what little exposed skin could be found. once, on what was supposed to one his usual runs, he came around a corner to be confronted by wild moose, large brown antlers jutting up to the sky, nostrils all aflare. luckily, after a brief standstill, the moose sauntered off into the forest, leaving the man to complete his run in peace.

but like so many runners like him, the swelling energy that consumed him as he neared the race day tricked his body into thinking it was more prepared than it actually was. despite having a strict running regimen to follow, the man stacked two back-to-back weekends of races just a few short weeks before the marathon was to take place. instead of helping to build him up, the only thing he gained from this double dose of racing was an acute case of shin splints, sadly removing him from the marathon he had spent months tirelessly training for.

after healing, that young man continued with his running, but never again entered another marathon. there's no definitive reason why, but one can imagine with having a new wife and new baby girl to care for, not to mention long work days, that it just had to do with life catching with up him, as life tends to do sometimes.

that twenty-something year old man is my father.

i have kept my running the NYC Marathon a secret from my dad until today. i am running this marathon for him. this is the marathon that he never got to run. and, today, with my voice wavering and my eyes watering, i finally got to tell him so. i am flying him up to New York for the weekend of November 6th, so he can do a little vicarious living and so i can see the face of my biggest fan when i cross that finish line.

i guess it's more a gift to myself than to him, really, but as long as he doesn't catch on, we're all good! Happy Father's Day, Dad! ;)

the wool mask that my dad would wear running everyday in Alaska.

about to swim with the whales at Sea World.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Songs with Perfect Timing

there are those rare times that a song hits the airwaves, or more appropriately, the internet that speak so perfectly to how you're feeling right at that exact moment. and, well, this song and right now are perfectly in sync. at least, for me. lack of resolution can be such a motherfucker and Jojo effortlessly captures that with her remake of Drake's "Marvin's Room."

see, i recently had my heart broken and with technology and the ways of communication being what they are today, i get the pleasure of watching firsthand said heart breaker move on with his life with another girl, undoubtedly just to inevitably break her heart as well. no matter how hard i try to look away, it's always still there, right in front of my face, chipping away at me with every byte each interaction fills. oh, the internet, such a blessing and a curse all in one pretty package!

so, yeah. FUCK THAT NEW GIRL. i'm STILL the G.O.A.T. and don't fucking forget it.

My Favorite Sports Bra for Running

boobs. you can't live with them, you can't live without them. amirite?

there are women that wish they had smaller boobs and women that would rather have Big 'Uns. there are even ladies out there that are perfectly happy with what they've got! (oh, to live a life without body issues!)

but regardless if you're working with an A or rocking out with a Double H (HH), all of the fairer sex is posed with the same dilemma: what is the best sports bra?!?!

the time that i spent at Paragon as a Running Specialist only reinforced that when it comes to knowing what to do with their boobs, most women haven't a clue. and if you've ever been in the sports bra section of any store, then you know exactly why that is. zippers, clasps or pull over? racer back, straps or criss-cross? compression, padded or something in between? front close or back close? cotton or dri-fit? and don't even get me started on the color choices! i swear, it's as if they created a new rainbow from which to pull the sports bra palette from! at Paragon, we had at least 30 different styles to choose from. THIRTY. AT LEAST. so where does one even begin?!?

ladies, please allow me to rock your fucking world right now. the sports bra i'm about to tell you about was a complete gamechanger for me. i felt like a completely different runner, if not person, once i found this bra. and that bra is... drum roll, please...

The Moving Comfort Vixen!

my boobs can range anywhere from a big B to a D, depending on my weight. while i do rather enjoy shaking what my mama gave me, i'd rather it not shake while i'm running. for almost two decades, i've been wearing Nike sports bras. you know the ones i'm talking about, ALL of us have at least one. they're compression bras at a very basic level. simple pull overs, available an unfathomable amount of colors and are on the lower end of the price scale. they're extremely accessible and, besides, it's NIKE and what's not to trust about Nike, right?

but, to be honest, i was ignorant to the world of sports bras and just didn't know any better. the Nike bras worked just fine. they kept me in place and kept the sweat from accumulating in my... under regions? they weren't comfortable, but they weren't uncomfortable either. they were just all that i knew. so when i worked at Paragon, i took complete advantage of the situation and tried on every sports bra i could get my hands on.

but from the moment that i tried on the Moving Comfort Vixen, it was like the Pearly Gates opened up and Peter told me i was on the list with a private booth by the stage and bottle service all night long. i immediately saw the error of my ways and swore off any other sports bra for all eternity.

so what exactly do i love so much about this bra? for starters, i feel like boobs are bulletproof when they're in this thing. there's actually two different sizes for each sizing. huh? what i mean is that there's an A/B and a C/D cup available for each small, medium, large and extra large sizing. (i'm a small C/D.) this obviously allows for a better fitting than the general S-M-L-XL. it's a racer back and a pull over, two features that i became accustomed to with the Nikes. there's also a touch of padding in these, but instead of just adding a little oomph!, the padding actually assists in keeping my girls in place... but the fact that it actually allows me to maintain a little bit of my girlish shape definitely doesn't hurt. and, of course, it wicks away the sweat, reducing the dreaded Swamp Tit. it also has a seamless interior. i mean, really, i'm just in love with the all around structure of this bra! not to mention that the Moving Comfort Vixen has a mid-level pricepoint and usually retails for under $40. (all the money you save on this bra you can put toward your compression tight fund!)

so save the jiggling for your weekend rendezvous and let the Moving Comfort Vixen keep you place while you're on the course!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Ironman Triathlon Comes to New York! (and New Jersey!)

so while trolling the internet to find out what the latest and greatest in running news is, i found the most latest and greatest news EVER!


when i was in New Orleans for a wedding this past April, i was able to witness the final leg of the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, a baby Ironman, if you will. the Ironman 70.3 series halves the distances for each leg of the race, so competitors are able to get a taste of what's to come at the national and world levels.

but next year in New York, my friends, there will be no halves. two and a half thousand (2,500) lucky individuals, and i use the term lucky as loosely as possible, will be allowed to swim the 2.4 miles, bike the 112 miles and then run the 26.2 miles that comprises a full Ironman. i started gasping for air just typing all that out!

let me clarify that a bit: that's 2.4 miles of paddling through the cold, brown, murky waters of the Hudson River, 112 miles through the dense lusciousness of the New Jersey Palisades and then a marathon down the westside of Manhattan. WOWZ!

seventy-five "age group qualifying" slots will advance on to the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, aka the real deal holyfield! which means the best of the best will have a chance to torture themselves all over again two months later! could you even imagine???

i must say, since purchasing a bike this spring, this physical feat is more than tempting. besides, i was a swimmer as a child and what's a measly 2.4 miles in a rushing river, right? right. hopefully that's just the masochist in me mentally meandering and reality will soon come sweeping in and i'll remember that i have yet to even complete my first marathon.

ok, so maybe this time around, i'll just stick to cheering from the sidelines! (which i encourage ALL of you to do next year!) this is a major milestone for New York athletics, especially running, and i'm happy that the toughest race in the world and i can call the same city home.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

X-Men Mutations: If You Could, Would You?

if you could have a physical mutation that made you more adept at a sport, but altered your aesthetics, making the masses cringe at the site of you and surely putting the kibosh on you getting any caboose... would you do it?

why do i ask? well, this weekend, i was one of the millions that packed the theater for X-Men: First Class. i highly recommend seeing this movie with a champagne mango, pack of Reese Peanut Butter sticks and a really hot guy wearing Levi's. or just by yourself. whatever! just go see it!

no matter how logical of a person you are, it's hard to not get lost in the fantasy of fiction, especially that of comics. you can't tell me that after a movie you've never thought to yourself, "if i could fly, i would totally do..." or, "if i had to pick one super power, i would definitely be able to..." or, at the very least, "f*ck, i totally wish i could read this guy sitting next to me's mind RIGHT NOW! ugh!!!"

it happens to all of us! (right???) but being that i'm completely obsessed with running right now, the story arc with Hank McCoy (aka Beast) really got me thinking. you see, outward appearances would have you think Beast was a regular bloke of a guy... until he takes his shoes off and outstretches these oversized ogre-like feet. he is able to use these appendages for ape-like activities, such as hanging off of a model of an airplane (and upside down make out sessions!).

but more importantly, he's able to run at lightning speeds, completely lapping everyone else's ass. so, i started wondering. if i could, would i...??? and you know what? i don't think i would. it may sound vain, actually, it's extremely vain, but i just don't think i'd give up "pretty" for "performance."

i guess i'm lucky in that any real modifications that could be done to my body to make me a better runner would also enhance my aesthetics as well. say, like, straightening my knock knees or actually putting some semblance of an arch in my foot, but outside of fixing my obvious flaws (wait, did i just admit that i have flaws?), i don't think i would overly enhance anything to give me that extra edge. and i really don't have any plans on rectifying any of my existing personal design defects, so i guess the knock knees and flat feet are here to stay!

i might have to settle for being a middle-of-the-pack marathoner, but when i look at my slim size 7's compared to those feet up there ^^^, i'm totally cool with that!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Training for the NYC Marathon Begins NOW

so now that National Running Day is over and done with, it's time to get down to business. the New York City Marathon is only 157 days away and while that's almost a third of a year, it seems like it's right around the corner. and, guys, i'm kinda panicking over here! *deep breaths, deep breaths*

i think it's about time to pick a training program and get myself acclimated to a real running schedule before anymore time had passed. school is done and a job is yet to come, so what else do i have to do this summer besides run?

being that i've been living off of unemployment and student loans for the past year, paying for a balls-to-the-wall trainer to keep me in line is simply out of the question. i'm having to do this the old DIY way, relying on my own self-discipline, things i find on the internet, tips from other runners and... the book you see above!

after years of watching me fly in and out of our apartment in my gym clothes and sneakers for the past five years, my roommate gifted me with Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running for my birthday last year. some of it's fairly girly rhetoric about work-life-balance and body image, but there's a lot in there that has enabled me to fine tune my training and more effectively focus my goals.

so i've decided to base the majority of my marathon training on this book. it only gives a 16-week schedule, but i think i'm just gonna add a few more "easy" weeks at the beginning and build up to Week 1 in July.

i'm still trying to wrap my head around that i'm actually doing this and things that sound very intimidating include: "Track: 4 x 400 race pace, with 10 x 100 strides," "2 miles warm-up, 5 miles tempo, 2 miles cool down" and on Week 11, simply "20 miles." dude, TWENTY miles? ughhhhhh!!!

despite the slight apprehension, i'm actually very much looking forward to my first marathon and if this is what needs to be done to get me there, then let's get'r done! i think actually having a tangible schedule that i can see and hold in my hands will keep me from slacking like i have been these past few months. *fingers crossed*

if you're a beginning runner, i highly recommend this book. it takes you from walking to jogging to running and then on to racing, all the while covering topics like nutrition, the decision to run with a group or by yourself and even running at different stages in your life (the young runner, the pregnant runner, the older runner).

i'm so ready to hit the streets, i just hope the streets are ready for me!

National Running Day In Pictures

since yesterday's post on National Running Day was so long, i won't torture you with too much more text on it!

last night, i went to Prospect Park for the Singlet Mixer (cute play on words, eh?) that New York Road Runners had organized. along with my team, North Brooklyn Runners, also in attendance were about 50 other runners from the South Brooklyn Runners, Prospect Park Track Club, Dashing Whippets, Staten Island Athletic Club, New York Front Runners and the Brooklyn Road Runners. it was really awesome to be able to finally hang with all these folks when the air isn't stifled with competition.

we did an easy loop around the Park and then reconvened at Bar Reis in Park Slope where NYRR had drink tickets and free pizza waiting for us upon our arrival!

i don't have a ton of pics from last night because, you know, i was actually running for most of it, but what i was able to capture, you can find below...

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Next Person That Says Something Bad About Beyonce Is Getting Cut!

Beyonce and i have very close, special relationship. there was the time i watched her videos on TV. there was a time when i listened to her album on my ipod. and then there was the time i ran into her and Jay-Z playing Big Buck Hunter at the East River Bar. see, it's like we're practically sisters!

that's me holding my dog on the left side of the pic!

i get it. she put out a song sampling a track that everyone was already in love with and put some choppy, moderately militant, half rappy vocals over it. and, listening to it, i admit that it takes awhile to get used to. but THEN she put out this amazingly sultry video for Run the World and i swear to god, she must own stock in baby oil, Aquanet and the clouds in heaven because this piece of visual seduction is straight out of my most divalicious dreams.

when you see her strut around in that video, how can you not be mesmerized into submission? oh, i know why. cause haters gon' hate, that's why.

to me, this video was actually the saving grace for the song. it put movement to an otherwise motionly-confused melody. everyone knew how to shake it to Major Lazer's Pon de Floor, but i feel like most people didn't know how to get down with the new change-ups and added vocals. besides, that beautiful face of Beyonce's can sell anything!

so just ease up on my girl and no one has to get hurt, ok?!? you know you're gonna be in love with this song, and all her other songs, by the end of the summer anyway, so let's just fast forward to that point now!

i, for one, cannot wait until her new album drops. until then, i'll always have these YouTube clips...

Beyonce by yardie4lifever2

National Running Day: Why I Run

today is National Running Day and all over the country, folks will be lacing up their sneakers and hitting the street to celebrate our country's most favorite pastime. (ok, so maybe not our country's most fave pastime, but a runner can dream, can't she?!?)

i thought what better time to share why i run-- my running testimonial, if you will! it's a long one, but i've included photos of Fat Katie to make it worth your while!

as an adolescent, i was never overly athletic. i was on swim team for a summer, i shot hoops in my driveway every night, i jogged here and there, but as for getting really down and dirty? no way, not me.

you see, i think there's a misconception that if you're skinny, you've naturally been blessed with athletic genes and that sports just come easy to you. i am living proof that this couldn't be further from the truth. up through my college years, the number on my scale never tipped passed 117 pounds, but this low body weight was paired with flat feet, knock knees and disproportionately large hips for my body type. bad joints run in my family and i've been plagued with knee problems my entire life. an olympian, i was just never destined to be.

do you remember when they would perform those "fitness tests" at school? you know, where they make you climb a rope, do a "sit and reach" test to measure your flexibility or have you run a mile? these are the days in gym that i dreaded most. that one mile run loomed over me as if i had a dark cloud D-tag strapped to my foot, trailing me wherever i went. there was just no possible way i could complete a mile without stopping and, inevitably, i would be the last person to cross the finish line and everyone in class would know that i was physically the weak link.

my ineptitude incarnate even followed me through high school where the cross country coach dubbed me "lazy white girl." (and, yes, there are people that still remember this and call me that to this day.)

in 2003, i relocated my slender, yet unskilled, body to New York City. it didn't take long in the Land of Delivery Food and Cheap Pizza for my once svelte frame to turn into a fleshy pillow of fat. that 117 on the scale steadily crept to 150 in about the course of two years. since i had maintained the same weight for about a decade, i had no idea what was even happening. why aren't my pants fitting? why am i oozing out of my bras? why am i so tired all the time? i thought my body was simply "changing." maybe this is just what happens as you get older?

then it finally hit me. i was fat. it was the worst epiphany i have ever had.

that year, i asked for a pair of running shoes for Christmas. i started with running to the train station and back. then from one train station to the next. i was scared to do too much too quickly because i knew that my body wasn't made like other bodies. and i definitely knew that my body wasn't made for running.

then i joined a gym. it seems silly, but this is where i really learned to listen to my body, to believe in it, to trust it. all these years, i thought my body had been telling me to take it easy, when really, it hadn't been saying that all. actually, it had kept all sorts of secrets locked away from me.

after spending a few months in the gym to work out all the kinks, i was finally ready to hit the street again. well, hit the park is more like it. there's a park in my neighborhood where one loop around equals 1/3 of a mile. i was ready to prove all those gym teachers and sideline taunters that i could run a mile and, dammit, i was going to run a mile if it was the last f*cking thing i did!

one loop around and i was already mentally battling with myself. two loops around and i was ready to call it quits. three loops around and... WAIT, WHAT?!? THREE LOOPS AROUND? ONE MILE??? i swear, in my head it was like my wedding day, seeing my first born for the first time, winning the lottery and getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame all at once. i was feeling cockier than Kanye!

and from then on, i've been hooked on that high, that sense of accomplishment that just trumps everything else, that knowledge that you can push yourself to the limit and still survive. and that? well, that's just the best feeling ever.

i hope that today all of you get out there and run. run a mile, run around the block, run to the ice cream truck. run with me, run with someone else, run by yourself. listen to your body, believe in your body, trust your body. accomplish something, trump something, feel something. all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other...

me at my very first race.